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Adult Bicycles || Children's Bicycles || Wheel Building

Wheel Building

Wheel building has long been referred to as a 'dark art' within the cycle community - something only truly experienced builders have mastered, and something that takes months, maybe years to learn.

On visiting the London Bike Show in February 2016, I was even told by one manufacturer (who sell machine-built wheels) that it was a dying artform, and with the advent of these wheelbuilding machines, one that was no longer necessary nor up to scratch any more.

Rim, hub and spokes ready to buildGear side outer spokes lacedBoth sides outer spokes laced

So, what's the reality? Is there a space for hand built wheels now machines are capable of doing most of the work? In a word, yes.
Machine-building wheels ensures consistency, throughput and economy; wheels can be built much more quickly, and robots don't take a wage. Machine built wheels allow for those £150 wheelsets you can purchase online.

Hand-building means you can spec the wheels however you want; hub quality, cost, rim construction, rim depth, spoke type and style, spoke quality, and the way they're laced. Essentially, just about everything about the wheels is bespoke. Because of the expertise involved, these wheels will cost more than the standard, off-the-shelf wheels, but they are likely to be much more hardwearing and robust; not least because they can be laced differently to the machine-built alternatives.

Gear side inner spokes laced, 3-crossLacing finished, full tangent, 3-cross wheel

So, how much?

We have an account with Novatec, which form the basis of our hub offerings. Many 'own brand' hubs in the £50-150 range are rebranded Novatec, so you can be assured they're good quality. We have access to a variety of rims, as well as a large selection of spokes, and an account with a Sapim supplier. We're also more than happy to build wheels with any parts you may supply, or request - we'll do our best to source them for the best price if you ask us to.
For a set of sturdy but lightweight, good quality road wheels (front and rear), our prices start at £250.
Front wheel, 32-hole hub, 3-crossFront and rear wheels laced up, bladed spokesRear wheel, radial-tangent lacing, bladed spokes

If you look around, you can find hubs from the likes of Chris King which exceed that figure several times over, and that's before you add in spokes and a rim!
Whatever your budget, rest assured your wheels will be built with the same level of care, precision and attention, only the components used will change. All wheels built by RJH CS include a free check/adjustment after 3 months/500 miles (once everything has had a chance to settle in).

Still not convinced? We ran a twitter poll of road cyclists recently (July 2019), and all those who have (or have had) hand built wheels would get them again when the need arose. Not a single one of those would not go handbuilt again. More than half of those who have yet to experience handbuilt were interested, while some of those who weren't interested admitted they didn't know the benefits of spending a bit more for hand built.

If you're considering a new set of wheels, you have the various bits and pieces but haven't got round to building them up, or you just want your current wheels refreshed, please feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements and I'll be happy to provide you with a quote with no obligation.

Wheel Servicing

£25 each / £40 per pair

Wheels not quite rolling as you'd expect? Perhaps they're a bit noisy, running a bit rough or you've just noticed a bit of play in the hubs. RJH Cycle Services can give your wheels a service and get them back to running as they should - smooth, quiet and true!
Even if your wheels were perfect out of the factory (which is surprisingly, and disappointingly, uncommon), over time they'll take some punishment, and even with the best maintenance, parts wear. A wheel service may help prolong the life of your wheels, as well as making them roll easier and more smoothly - both of which mean potential speed gains for you, the rider!

Wheel Rebuild

Do you have a favourite set of rims that are getting a bit long in the tooth? Is the hub beginning to show its age and in need of replacing? Have you suffered a broken spoke, or just want to change to some different spokes (aero/more robust)? We can help with that too! Given the range of variables, again it's impossible to give a cover-all quote. If you have a specific request, we'd be happy to supply you with a quote to complete the work.